Composition discussion thread.

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    • #125185
      Adrienne Siebert

      Members may post a photo and the reason they composed it the way they did. It is no problem to post a photo that was a lucky street shot. Even photos that you like but don’t know why. We can hopefully help each other to learn more about how to compose a photo that leads the eye, and gives the message that the photographer intended. We can discuss rules that we use, and when it works to break them. 😀

      Please, if someone has experience or schooling in this area of arts, I would love for your 2 cents!

      I am trying to start with something simple, but obviously going for a “rule of thirds” and “a golden mean” type of composition like this plaza walkway. I think it is one of the photos that I made with rules in mind and hoped that the composition added depth to an otherwise everyday sighting.


    • #125189

      I’m certainly not schooled in the area of arts but can offer my 2 cents. I love taking photos of hallways such as this. I love using leading lines in my images and these type of images are a perfect compositional tool to use. When I use them I like to put subjects that I want the viewers eye to go towards along the lines. In this case I would have loved to have seen something unusual or out of place where the trash can is – perhaps something that is in harmony with the person at the far end. Also when doing these shots, pay attention to your verticals and horizontals they need to be straight or the photo looks tilted (I do it all the time – thank goodness for Photoshop!). You have a great compositional element here, now determine what you want to say with it.

    • #125193
      Michael Lloyd

      This is a classic example of a “vanishing point perspective”. It looks like the camera was tilted down and to the right so the perspective is a little skewed. That’s neither a problem or a plus. It’s just how how it is.

      If I were me, I would have temporarily removed the trash can from the scene.

    • #125196
      Adrienne Siebert

      Thank you for your feedback. 🙂

      It is hard to see when the photo is so small, but I was actually going for the tricycle and person that appears to be fleeing into the unknown dark area. They are more in the sweet spot as I was following a rule that was stated in the introduction. I am a simple person who would like the photo for the spiraling comp and the contrast of light and shadow, even without things littering the area.

      I played with the straightening of the hallway and decided to go this way for an almost disorienting effect of traveling into an unknown place.

      Now I keep seeing the tobacco/news shop sign when I view the larger photo. I recently quit tobacco, so it will take my eye, sweet spot or no. Haha!

    • #125198
      Adrienne Siebert

      @michael-lloyd: I agree about the trash can actually not helping.

      That is the heavy cement kind that probably weighs more than I do. 😉 I was taking my daughter for some medical testing in the plaza (cameraphone left) so shot what I could.

      The lobby was more interesting IMO. lol

      I was composing for the lines of repetitive shapes and conformity of the people’s positions, but someone just had to do something different. Perhaps it could also be triangular?

      waiting room

    • #125202

      I really like this photo – it’s funny. The chairs lead your eye towards the three ladies all of which are there for the same reason (waiting) but are totally unique. The lines on the tops of the windows tilt downwards to the waiting ladies. This works so well in B&W. You have great contrast from the differences in the women to the tones in the image. The only real distractions I see in this are the edges the particians seem to run into the two ladies heads and there is a plant too close to the front lady – looks like its coming out of her back. A slight vantage point change could have eliminated this minor issues. Great shot.

    • #125215
      Adrienne Siebert

      Thank you so much! I do respect your opinions on these matters, but please take into account that the photos were taken with no notice in a very real atmosphere where many things are just beyond my control.

      I don’t find those minor things to be issues. A slight vantage point change and I would have a weaker composition and much less interesting subject matter (I nearly got busted taking the shots LOL). Might have even messed up the chairs and window thing I was going for. IMHO

      Also, this isn’t the shark tank, but I will be glad to have you rip me up there one day. You have good attention to detail and a helpful way of explaining how things can be helped. 😉

      Hopefully tomorrow someone will share a few photos with classic or strong compositions. Rules or not. 😀

      Here is a discussion on a photo taken at the same time. That can actually shed light on breaking the “things growing out of heads” rule. I found it to be a stronger composition than this photo.:

      candid composition

    • #125251

      From a composition perspective I agree that the photo I commented on has a much stronger design element than the one pointed to in the above reply. One general rule of thumb (but like all “rules” can be intentionally broken) is to have an odd number of objects in the image. Your two photos are great examples of that.

      I realize that this was a candid shot and you needed to be a bit surreptitious in your approach. Sitting back much later and reviewing, one can always find things to improve. Happens to me all the time. So I didn’t mean to have it sound like a “shark tank” review.

      These kind of photos capture the human element and you have done it very well and in a manner that is easy to visually read. Although I was a bit “nit picky”, I really enjoyed the image!

    • #125258
      Michael Lloyd

      When someone puts an image online, in a discussion thread no less, one has to expect opinions about the image. :o) I can say from personal experience that at some time in the process one begins to see images in greater detail. When we see an image for the first time we automatically start to describe the elements of the image based on how it feels and it’s technical merit, if not to ourselves then to anyone who will listen. The web is a great place to find a captive audience lol but sometimes people don’t want to hear about their image. You have a natural talent Adrienne. Try to take each and every comment in without the emotional attachment to the image (that we all have otherwise we wouldn’t be photographers). File it away whether you agree or disagree with it. Make every comment serve you. If you do that, you’ll find that your rate of improvement will accelerate.

      I like the second image better than the first. I don’t really know why. I just do.

      “but please take into account that the photos were taken with no notice in a very real atmosphere”

      Look up Henri Cartier Bresson. He was the master of candid photography.

    • #125262

      He was the Mozart of “street photography” – incredible vision.

    • #125263
      Michael Lloyd

      Absolutely Stan! To be honest, until I learned of Bresson I never really liked street photography. I thought it was “snapshot” photography and I was completely wrong about that. It’s an art form in and of itself.

    • #125275
      Adrienne Siebert

      @doctorflash: I have quite a few photos that drive me nuts because of nitpicks. Either someone else, or I would point something out and I would never be able to look at it the same again. lol

      @michael-lloyd: Thanks for the link to the well known Bresson video. Great work there! I agree that he had some skills and there is something to be learned there. He even made a point to tell the difference between a snapshot and a portrait. If he meant that his shots were snapshots, then they are good ones. I had a job that required looking at hundreds of “snapshots” a day and it would have been nice if more of them had some purposeful composition.

      That being aside, a candid is a candid. Either it did or it didn’t. Not all good candid shots have anything to do with a purposeful composition. I just think I had an example of a photo that included both a purposeful composition and a special moment.

      I have a feeling that technology and photoshop editing possibilities has changed the way some poeple view and nitpick at photos. I just don’t think it is the biggest of deal with street or candid photograpy. That is strictly my opinion as someone who doesn’t really like taking people photos, or know how to use anything that doesn’t slide back and forth in an editing program.

      I hope to see some other members photos in the thread and encourage their sharing. It doesn’t have to be street, or B&W either. Those were just the first and hopefully easy to explain couple that I had on hand.

    • #125278
      Michael Lloyd

      “Not all good candid shots have anything to do with a purposeful composition.”

      All good shots come from a purposeful eye… it’s an intuitive thing

    • #125280
      Tom Bogey

      Great video, I had seen some of the photos in the past, but never the video. Thank you.
      I am posting a photo for discussion that falls under the category as described by @bugadrienne as “photos that you like but don’t know why”.

      This photo was shot from the top deck of a moving sight-seeing bus in San Francisco, using my Canon EOS D60 with a Tamron 18-270 mm zoom lens @ 39 mm. It was shot at f/8, 1/500, ISO-1000.

      San_Fran_Streetlight.jpg by Tom Bogey on Light Stalking

      I’d like to hear other opinions of this photo, whether you like it or hate it.

    • #125290
      Adrienne Siebert


      I like it.
      At the very least, whether you meant to or not, the photo fits in with the rule of thirds with the placement of the lamps. The slanting line of the bank roof gives a lead toward the lamps. There are repeated shapes in the bottom third that gradually lead from the left then the taller building sticking up in the top right third. Everything except the roof of the bank seems to be on a third. These could be some reasons that we like the photo.

      For me, the composition is effective and leads my eye all over the frame, more than once. It is a photo that I may stop on when scanning through different photos.

    • #125362
      Ian Kahler

      OK… before I add any comment to existing discussion, allow me to post the following photo.
      I will be brief at this time, with regard to my intention. Than, after comment from others, I may elaborate.
      Minimal color to bring attention to the subject[s] they being the person AND the tree. They are connected, they are both solitary, looking and pointing it would seem out of the frame. The low angle chosen to provide a perspective where it appears the man is the same size as the tree, and so, bring them together in terms of the nature of both entities…. nuf said for now… that was my intention.

      SRBWGP 003.jpg by Ian Kahler on Light Stalking

    • #125420
      Michael Lloyd

      I made this image early this morning.

      There is a story in the image, albeit a personal one. We almost never get ice storms here in the part of Texas where I live. Last night we had lightning, thunder, and rain… I didn’t expect ice. The near background is my garden plot. I tilled it two weeks ago and the recent rains have kept me from being able to plant. Today I am glad that I didn’t plant 🙂

      I like the lines of the image.

    • #125421
      The Falx
    • #125423
      Adrienne Siebert

      @justian: I really like this. The way the tree leans to be in a sweet spot. The perspective worked also to create leading lines to the person who is in the middle of the frame. Steps/horizon in the middle right and part of the subject in the center. Thats a nice example of breaking a rule, the right way. It is working nicely!

    • #125433
      John Thompson

      Fab&Fany.jpg by John Thompson on Light Stalking

      when I took this shot I waited for Fabrice and Fanny to get ahead of me and farther up in the frame. It is not the best photo but I did think about what I was doing and this is exactly how I wanted it composed.

    • #125434
      Adrienne Siebert


      Pretty cool. 😉

      I wish we would get any cool weather at all here in S. FL.

      Centering the barbed wire just below the horizon at a dark part of the image really brought out the highlights in the drippy ice. Is there a reason that it is nearly centered and just crosses the horizon on the right or was it a comp. for focal point/metering? The lower wire is darker but adds depth and somehow keeps my eye from sliding right out of the frame.

      I like the suspended drops and I would have thought they were liquid.

    • #125435
      Michael Lloyd

      I really like that one John/

      Adrienne- since I print and invariable crop to suite the print I always leave room to crop (ok sometimes I screw up and forget so always is a stretch). That’s what’s going on here. I print on a bunch of different formats so the crop could be 1×2, 2×3, 3×4, or some other variation based on the matte size. That doesn’t mean I would print this. it just means that printing has changed the way I compose.

    • #125437
      John Thompson

      Thank you Michael. It serves to bring back memories of a fun weekend in the south of France and Monaco.

    • #125438
      Adrienne Siebert


      Although I haven’t printed much, I admit to shooting for cropping. :l

      I shoot wide for other reasons, but thank you for explaining another reason to do so. I do it to ensure that I have enough room to manipulate the composition slightly. One can crop in, but can’t crop out of what you don’t have.
      I have been giving a little room since I used film and made my first crops with an enlarger. I have only printed a couple of my digital photos and haven’t matted or framed any yet. I need a new printer and am still learning…

    • #125439
      Adrienne Siebert

      Thank you for sharing! I like the curve of the steps that lead to the people walking away.

      This thread is getting some action now that I have to leave. lol

    • #125440
      Michael Lloyd

      Actually with photoshop we can add but I am not very good at it.

      That said, printing is another “leap”. First there was the camera. That wasn’t so bad because Canon’s digital cameras closely followed their film cameras (1N). But digital files don’t behave like negatives so there is the post processing “leap”. That, I’m afraid, is never ending. Finally there is printing. I took a class on printing with John Paul Caponigro and R. Mac Holbert a few years ago. It was a great class and I’m glad that I took it but even printing is subject to the changes in technology that happen in a blink of the eye. So it’s a never ending process. Piezography brings us wonderful black and white inksets. Epson’s HDR inksets make color printing fun, though they are still of a smaller gamut than our monitors or cameras.

      I still shoot film. Mostly 4×5. Some 120. Some 35mm. I process in a Jobo CPP-2 (wonderful processor). I scan as a color positive on an Epson 10000XL. Even the black and white film. Then process in photoshop. Scanning is another learning curve.

      If you get the chance and want to learn to print from the masters, this workshop is well worth the time and money

    • #125441
      John Thompson

      @bugadrienne where are you going?

    • #125442


    • #125456
      Adrienne Siebert

      I had to go get my daughter from school. I have just finished the battle of “please get the homework done before bedtime”. I wish they would make homework that my kid actually likes to do. lol

      @shaneh: I don’t think anyone ever gets most of mine either. I think it is the most challenging part of making photos with a meaning to share. That is of course, when one feels like expressing that meaning to others with a photo. Some of the best photos for sharing, don’t need a word said, but I find that to be difficult to do when people see in different ways than oneanother. What I might think is obvious will go right past another person’s attention. lol

      I find the second photo much more obvious in intent than the first. It has the girl on a third and an attractive diagonal line that gives her some pilot space. The focus says “ahead, path, future” to me. It just has great composition IMO.

    • #125457
      Adrienne Siebert

      @falx: Where did your photo go? I was just looking for it. I liked the way the couple’s feet were synced while they walked, but now it is gone when I wanted to get back to it. :/

      I really didn’t think this thread would get as much action as it has. lol I was on and offline today with a couple minutes here and there, surprised to see new activity each time.

    • #125517
      The Falx

      Yeah…\I posted without really thinking…..there were a couple of images above that hadn’t been viewed and commented on,so I thought to pull mine for the time being and not overload the thread…ill be back 🙂

    • #131596

      @justian: The solitary theme comes through loud and clear but so does loneliness and cold and maybe even a little something sinister from the hooded faceless figure. The fact that you centered him in what otherwise seems a random composition reinforces those themes.

      @michael-lloyd: I like how the top wire echoes the horizon but not quite. It creates tension that is already present in the atmospheric elements of clouds and ice.

    • #131599

      @bugadrienne: I like the skewed perspective, the left downward slant. It creates a tense feeling in this near vacant and unglamorous space. Whether or not you intended the slant when you pressed the shutter, you left it in in processing and it works with this space.

      @tbogey: Nice comparison of old and new and intelligently composed with angles and slivers of both.

    • #131600

      pear blossoms

      I don’t often spend much time thinking about rules of composition when I’m looking through the viewfinder. I look and try to place the elements I see in the viewfinder in a way that I find pleasing. This is an example. I didn’t want all of the blossoms in focus specifically to suggest movement in a non-moving medium. I included the tree’s environment (a bit of fence and barn) but with shallow dof to suggest depth. And I wanted to avoid the normal colorful spring images but to still convey the beauty of spring in black and white. I don’t particularly like to explain my images believing that an image should either stand or fall on its own. But this is one of the most interesting threads in this forum in a long time so I wanted to get in on it.

    • #131605
      Michael Lloyd

      I love the way that the fence, though minimized by the shallow depth of field, draws the viewer around and through the image. I kind of wish that the building on the right edge wasn’t there but I think the owner would miss it :o) I like the tonality. It feels moody…

      PS- this is a great thread

    • #131607
      John Thompson

      @caimi I really like that shot. I do not normally like limited dof like this one but wow. It has made me rethink my own shots now that I have seen this. Well done.

    • #131608
      Adrienne Siebert

      @caimi: Thanks for bringing the thread back. 😉
      I like the balance between the tree and the background, like I could almost bisect the photo diagonally. The fence line adds depth and keeps me looking as well.

    • #131611
      Adrienne Siebert

      I am still trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to show with this image. I liked the uneven fence but still think there has to be something done to strengthen the image. It is cropped, so there is some room to work it if it is worth working on. lol

      Anolis sagrei female

    • #131614
      Adrienne Siebert

      And here is an empty payphone I found. I find that having it nearly centered can say a few things, depending on the perspective of the viewer.

    • #131616
      Adrienne Siebert

      Btw, I want to blame the near death of this thread on @falx, for posting a photo and taking it away. I still have an image of walking feet in my mind for some reason. 😉

    • #131674
      The Falx

      Ah Buggy Buggy :)6

      just for you

      paris50 (475 of 805)-Edit.jpg by Duncan Stewart on Light Stalking

      Paris 3 or 4 years ago…….shot from the hip….out of focus but to me that doesn’t detract from the story….one of my personal favourites!! 🙂

    • #131707

      Street photography has a long history of clandestine hip shots. This image tells its story very well @falx.

    • #131729
      Geoff Neville

      Mind if I jump on board anyone? Great discussion.
      Self portrait.
      As close to a self portrait as will happen! And I don’t know why, I just like it? Maybe because it is the only one in existence.

    • #131733
      Geoff Neville

      And I purposefully made it grainy and a bit smudgy, like I feel most of the time! A “real” self portrait!

    • #131746
      Adrienne Siebert

      @silverbells: I like it too. I like the way the shadow contrasts well with the pattern of the wall.

    • #132159
      Adrienne Siebert

      I was trying different crops for this photo and went with this one as opposed to leaving the whole OOF flower, or removing it altogether.

      Small dandelion

    • #132183
      Aaron Geis

      I think this (@bugadrienne ‘s Dandelion and a Half) is a strong composition and the without the second, partial flower it wouldn’t be.

      My sense of composition was informed by a couple of things early in my life as a photographer.

      The first was a period of about a year during which I mainly focussed on abstract close up photos of rocks in b&w.

      The absence of a clear ‘subject’ or color forced me to find a way to make photos interesting by form and composition alone.

      The second was a trip to Japan during which I visited quite a few temples and some art galleries. Happily Google has made it much easier to see large numbers of traditional Japanese paintings from the comfort of your own home (Japan is well worth a visit if you enjoy travel though).

      Knowing the basics of ‘the rule of thirds’, the ‘golden ratio’, concepts of balance and leading lines is a helpful jumping off point but after that you have to try to connect with your emotional reaction to a composition.

      Those instincts are obscured when you have an emotional reaction to the subject – you will tend to think a photograph of a loved one is great even if it’s a disaster on a compositional level (unless you’re already in tune with your compositional instincts).

      For that reason I would recommend trying to develop your compositional skills by photographing things that you don’t have emotional ties to.

      Subjects such as flowers and architecture are great for that purpose as illustrated by the flowers above and the also very strong composition of the lampposts in San Francisco earlier in this thread.

      (@bugadrienne probably has the chops to take great photos of her loved ones as well, no slight intended by the above statement)

    • #132186
      Adrienne Siebert

      @aarongeis: Thank you for joining this discussion. It was neglected for a little while.

      I really can’t stop thinking about composition when I view and make photos or art. However, I do have some snapshots, even of random things, that I just can’t let go. lol

      I don’t understand the term “chops” so can’t really feel slighted.

      I really must work more on abstract photos, but get indecisive often and do not share the ones I attempt.

    • #132240
      Aaron Geis

      @bugadrienne ‘chops’ is old guy slang for skills.

      I meant that I wasn’t trying to imply that you achieved a great composition because the subject was abstract but only that abstract subjects are good for distilling composition down to it’s core principles.

      Things with faces are inherently interesting, directional light is inherently interesting; when you remove those visual draws, as you have in your photo of dandelions, you are left with only form and composition to intrigue the viewer.

      By practicing your compositional skills attempting to create compelling imagery on abstract subjects you will gain an instinctive sense of how to compose other subjects more creatively.

      (I don’t mean you specifically but ‘you’ in the broad sense of you, me or anybody else as well.)

      My theory anyway.

      Thanks for the follow!

    • #132246
      Geoff Neville

      Great clarification @aarongeis , and wise words. When we just “do” and not think (mainly because we usually do not have to think). It is a bit difficult sometimes to explain technique although whoever we are talking to may …………
      Well, I have successfully complicated a well explained theory. I will just be quiet and post a shot that may or may not be relevant. He he. @bugadrienne
      Well the site won’t let me post a shot without it looking like it has been stretched , I will try again later.

    • #132269

      Not my absolute greatest but in this photo, I wanted to illustrate the sky’s color and how it ever so slightly reflected in the water. At the same time, I didn’t want to over draw attention to the silhouettes in the image beyond the people on each side.

      I composed it with them at each side so the waters colors would draw your eyes to the sky color.
      I didn’t do any post processing at all, I wanted the natural state of what I saw at that time. I know it’s not my absolute best, but it’s still one that I just really like for some reason. Maybe it’s the subdued hues, or the fact that seemingly it’s just the sky and water that it’s in full color.
      Just the right shot, at the right time I guess.

      Sail away.JPG by Kobie Mercury-Clarke on Light Stalking

    • #132331
      Geoff Neville

      scotch thistle

    • #132375
      tom dinning

      I am waiting for my new glasses, @arrongeis, so until then, I’ll make my comments brief.
      All things are a bit blurry, composition among them.
      Any placement of bets within the frame is ‘composition’. We can start with the premise that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. We can start with ‘intent’, though. Following that we can look at fashion, genre, and personal preferences. There might also be an element of experimentation and innovation.
      One thing to avoid in composition is other people’s opinions, unless you are absolutely sure they know what they are talking about.
      In an effort to get things done in a hurry, the internet has provided us with a flurry of so called experts who will show you the path to enlightenment. Even today I saw an add for some DVDs called ‘Photograph like the Pros in 7 days’. I wonder, based on the period of completion, if the maker had divine intervention.
      The construction of ‘rules’ is also a modern folly. Once learnt they are hard to forget and prove to be an obstacle to innovation and individuality. This is overcome by those who advocate the rules with the idiotic statement ” rules are meant to be broken”. Where else would you find, in the proper running of your life, such a bazaar concept.
      So, where does one start?
      Learn what is possible and apply what you need.
      What do you learn.
      Everything you can about the following:
      1. Yourself. Your likes, dislikes, abilities, biases, ethics, interests, temperament, gaminess, fears, attitudes.
      2. Your gear. Know it backwards, forwards, in the dark, under water, in the heat of the day and in the privacy of your own home. Know what it can do, technically.
      3. Your ideas. Good ideas make good photos. Think long and hard on the purpose of every photo before you take it.
      4. The thing photographed. Things can be objects, scenes, living things, places and spaces, concepts. Broaden your horizons with what you choose to photograph.
      5. Fill the frame. The rectangle is your edited version of what you see. Be critical in your editing.
      6. Focus. Choose what you focus on, how much is in focus and what is the primary visual focus.
      7. Timing. Be selective about when you shoot as well as how long you shoot for.
      8. Point of view. Where you stand can make a difference. Don’t be restricted to 1.5 m off the ground.
      9. Presentation. It used to be just a print. Now its thing goes. Suit your input for your output.
      10. The viewer.if it’s just you it doesn’t matter so much. If I’m looking I have my own set of preferences.

      I would continue but Open All Hours has started.
      I’ll be back

    • #132381
      tom dinning

      I’m back. That was very funny. It was a remake of the old Open Alll Hours. All the old characters and the same old shop.

      The above list is brief, I know. So is the descriptive. That’s why the rest is up to you. Instead of learning what others do to get their results, learn in you own way. That way you will be assured of a unique and individual look at the world that belongs to you, not some formula you found on a photography forum.
      All this will probably take you a lifetime or two. If you’re unhappy with what you are doing right now, get a new hobby. Please yourself first. Don’t get ahead of yourself. And don’t forget where you used to be.
      If you think something isn’t working so well, examine the headings above and see what you could spend your time on to make things differently.
      Don’t look for externals. Everything is internal. Knowledge , skills, attitude, mood, self-worth, is what counts.
      Composition is subjective. Everything is composed. Find the arrangement that suits you.

    • #132385
      tom dinning

      image.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      Many may find all sorts of so called compositional strategies in this simple photo. If that’s all they find, their loss. If that’s all they’re looking for, poor fool them. One or toe out there might like the shot. Just as many may not. Since I didn’t take the shot for any of them, I couldn’t give a flying fuck if they like it or not.
      Composing the shot is a personal thing. The musician is an acquaintance. If you go to Brisbane Mall on any weekend you’ll hear Graham play. I often sit a watch and listen, shooting away as the impulse takes. Getting in this close intensifies the intimacy and contrasts the old fingers against the ageless brass. Graham is blind. He, like the photo, doesn’t need eyes to play. I took this in this particular way because it felt right. At that moment I remember thinking I have known this man for some years and enjoy his company. Wouldn’t it be nice to show a portrait of the man as I see him.

    • #132389
      tom dinning

      image.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      The casualness of everyday occurrences is a treasure of photo opportunities. Purposeful and deliberate composition can be detrimental to the final result. Here I am looking for a view that has the same casualness that has presented itself in the scene of the young men doing their thing. Glimpses of the various elements and objects writhing the frame is all that is necessary to complete the picture. It’s something I would catch out of the corner of my vision. That’s how I present it.

    • #132391
      tom dinning

      image.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      Composition often presents itself if you hang around long enough. Take notice and when the time is right all you need to do is press the button. Composition with photography isn’t a matter of placing things where you want them unless you have a studio. All other cases it involves taking what is there and making sense of it.

    • #132393
      tom dinning

      image.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      Then there are the times when everything is a jumble and you don’t know where to start. It becomes a treasure hunt to find the place to stand, the framing, the settings on the camera and the timing. That’s where I love experimenting. This is one shot from well over a hundred taken on the day. It’s not a favorite. I love them all because I remember what fun I was having looking. Every shot revealed a new view of this cluttered junk yard.

    • #132395
      Michael Lloyd


      “I didn’t do any post processing at all, I wanted the natural state of what I saw at that time.”

      If this was shot with a digital SLR and the camera was set to record in JPG format only, then the camera post processed the image for you. If this was shot in RAW format and then converted to JPG for posting, the image was (a) captured as data only and therefore is not the finished product and (b) was minimally processed during the jpg conversion. If you are familiar with the iconic images of the past, for instance, the Afghan girl (young girl with striking green eyes that made the cover of Nat Geo or Time, I don’t remember which) bear in mind that these images were shot with film and post processed. I know the guy that processed the Afghan girl image (and many others). It’s extremely rare (possibly unlikely) to find an image that hasn’t been post processed in some way. Either in the dark room or in the new digital darkroom, images are manipulated to increase the illusion of sharpness, increase contrast, adjust tonality, etc. Ie to maximize the potential of the image (or if someone doesn’t know what they are doing, destroy it).

      The shoot raw / shoot jpg war is old and tired. That’s not why my post is about. This is about informed choices.

      Jpg- the camera decides what to do with the image and throws 90% of the data away.
      Raw- is just that, raw data. It must be processed to bring the image to it’s maximum potential. It’s up to the photographer or their image editor

      It has never been easier to acquire post processing software and the tools to learn how to use it than it is right now. Lightroom 5 is very cheap and YouTube is loaded with free training (some good and some not so good).

    • #132396
      Michael Lloyd

      I really like the image of the musical instrument Tom. I was instantly drawn into the image. I wanted to know who was playing, what instrument he was playing, what did it sound like… etc.

      If I were to print the image I would clone the three little dots around the middle (I know… it’s a critique point… but I can’t leave that one alone)

    • #132397
      tom dinning

      People who know me also know I have a slightly kinky view of the approach to learning photography. It’s because I never learnt any rules. Funnily enough, I have never been dissatisfied with any of my photos. Some I don’t keep but I know I learnt something along the way. When I look at someone else’s photo I don’t look for compositional structure. I’m there to enjoy what others have done and what they tell me through their own vision.

    • #132399
      John Thompson

      Tom as an American I loved “Open all hours”. David Jason was one of my favorite actors. Ronnie Barker as Awkright was superb. “Grandville bring your cloth!”

    • #132400
      John Thompson

      I am constantly looking at composition while I watch movies. If you look at various scenes and imagine that it is a still instead of a video the compositions is almost always perfect. Also, some of the screen shots that begin and end a scene are fantastic images. Sometimes they are landscapes, sometimes they are still lifes but the viewers visual enjoyment and the composition are superb.

    • #132405
      Adrienne Siebert

      @nikon-nut: I have noticed that. Also, the lighting is great in many movies. I find it inspiring. It makes me think that to be a good videographer is quite the challenge.

      At least action, dialogue, and sound can distract the viewer of a movie. However, it shows that composition is useful and important to make scenes visually appealing to many people.

      That is why I am pretty hung up on composition. IMO, photos and other still arts can’t really afford to suffer horrible composition as there are not as many things to distract the viewer from things being a bit off. 😀

    • #132408
      John Thompson

      @bugadrienne I was going to mention the lighting but this is a composition thread. Being old like I am I still love black and white movies. Sometimes the lighting in these can be so dramatic but the composition is always spot on. You are correct about the storyline distracting the viewer from the technical aspects of film but after all that is what it is supposed to do isn’t it?? LOL

    • #132414
      Aaron Geis

      I have another theory that I’d love to discuss.

      My understanding is that in music theory it is pretty well agreed that major chords produce feelings of confidence and inspiration, minor chords produce pensive and wistful feelings and unresolved harmonies create tension.

      I believe that visual compositions can produce similar emotional reactions.

      I don’t claim to have invented that idea BTW, just throwing it out there to stir the pot.

      Digeredoo Player by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #132441
      tom dinning

      It’s a good thing you’re not my printer, @michael-lloyd otherwise I would have to shoot you. I must admit, though, I do use your approach when visiting people who own cats. “If I owned this house I’d kill the cat”, is what I say to the owner at which point they immediately oblige because they value my opinion.

    • #132449
      Michael Lloyd

      @tomdinning I had to read most of this thread again to figure out what you were talking about lol I’ve driven a little over 600 miles since I put that post up this morning so I’m not thinking too clearly :o) Are the three dots a cat? It’s hard to see detail in these itty bitty images…

      I’ve taken two classes in DSLR video production and editing. I’ll answer the question before it’s asked: no… that won’t even begin to teach someone how to create and edit video on a professional level. However, I have not watched a movie the same way since. Like @nikonnut I really like watching old black and white movies. I like to try to figure out the lighting and I like to see how they use cut points to create a flowing narrative. Video is an amazing art from if it’s done right and done right is subjective :o)

    • #132461
      tom dinning

      Michael @michael-lloyd, you seem a nice bloke so I’ll save you a lot of pain.
      When someone wants to do damage to a photo of mine just because they don’t like it I get a bit sensitive.
      You see, telling me what you would have done is of no use to me at all. That’s not why I take photos. You can have your own personal opinion on any of my stuff and that is of no consequence to me either. When I finish a photo it’s finished. For me and me alone. I’m not looking for awards, money or praise. I’m not looking for criticism or ridicule either. I do that quite well with my own stuff. At the end of the day, if I show someone a picture I do so knowing that is exactly how I want it. When I view someone else’s picture I can only assume, unless they otherwise state, that’s how they want their stuff to look.
      Reading a photograph is a skill and a pleasure. It’s not about how you would have done it. It’s about how you see the image and interpret it. Removing 3 dots you don’t like isn’t interpretation; it’s destruction. It’s photographic graffiti. I’m not in your class. You are not my instructor. Just look at the picture and tell me what it means to you without being judgemental and we’ll get on just fine.
      Your new best friend,

    • #132465
      Geoff Neville

      @tomdinning without any intention of turning this into something it’s not! I couldn’t agree more. I firmly believe if more people were diplomatic but said it how it is we would all get along just fine.
      Composition to me depends on how I feel at the time, subject, situation and loads of other things that are many and varied. I don’t break rules because I don’t have any but my own and they all differ according to the subject, situation etc… If I am taking a shot for somebody else that’s a different story.
      Two tree hill #2.
      The drain #5.

    • #132500
      Michael Lloyd

      “You see, telling me what you would have done is of no use to me at all. That’s not why I take photos. You can have your own personal opinion on any of my stuff and that is of no consequence to me either.”

      Perfect. I am someone that says what’s on my mind and you seem to be the same kind of person. I can handle that just fine.

      “Reading a photograph is a skill and a pleasure. It’s not about how you would have done it. It’s about how you see the image and interpret it. Removing 3 dots you don’t like isn’t interpretation; it’s destruction.”

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on this point. The image hasn’t changed. It’s still the same image and I still like it.

      @silverbells If “more diplomatic” is a comment about my comment on Tom’s dots please tell me how that is an un-diplomatic comment. If not, never mind.

      Nice pictures…

    • #132502
      Geoff Neville

      @micheal-lloyd Absolutely not. I’m here to share photographs not have some …whatever it is. Leave me out of it!!!
      A misspent youth.

    • #132508
      Adrienne Siebert

      I see that we opened up a little can of worms here. lol

      I love my cats and will deal with the damages they do to my home. Hehe!

      I have already had a couple comments referring to “unwanted objects” in the frame of my photos. I just take them with a grain of salt. The objects don’t bother me. I understand that someone making those comments, are genuinely trying to help. They would compose differently, or shop the stuff out of their own photos.

      Sometimes I disagree, like the dots in @tomdinning’s photo show that there is more than empty space in that area. I think that removing those, might be removing part of the instrument. Barely visible, but there nonetheless.

      Maybe I am a bit old school, or a purist. I just don’t clone things out of my photo that are larger than a speck of sensor dust or lube splatters. I would never touch a street shot with a brush unless it is a dodging and burning tool. If something bothers me that much, I trash the photo. There are plenty more photos to be taken.

      Things would be different if I were working for a client that wanted touch-ups done. However, I do not enjoy working with clients at all. Being in the film processing business caused me to stop shooting for nearly 15 years.

      It is no surprise that this day and age, when it is so easy for people to manipulate photos, there will be many that feel that it is neccesary to go to those lengths for what they consider perfection. It seems that it is those folks that are selling the prints. Only, I don’t consider it to be straight photography at that point. It is photo manipulation, and looks fantastic. So I can still relate with the artists that make those images.

      Whether a photo is shopped or not, for sale, competition or not, they can still benefit from a purposeful composition, so it all counts here as far as I am concerned.

    • #132509
      Adrienne Siebert

      @aarongeis: That is a well composed photo. The object that the figure is holding acts as a lead to those buildings.

      @silverbells: I really love the last photo. The placement of the end of that tunnel draws my eye right in.

    • #132531
      Aaron Geis

      Thanks @bugadrienne ! I’m trying to think of a way to do a little experiment involving a set of images that could be generally agreed to be ‘good compositions’ and then see if there’s any way to predict the emotional reaction we (as a culture) have to certain compositional relationships.

      I absolutely respect the legitimacy of creating art for the sake of creating, without regard for the reactions it may receive and according to whatever set of rules we may self impose.

      Each of us has that right from the time we first scribble on paper at two years old.

      As a professional photographer I don’t have that luxury when shooting to a brief.

      I basically have to create photographs that are universally well liked, week in, week out.

      My reputation depends on not having a failed commission, ever.

      That starts with good exposure, sharpness, use of color, ect; but another crucial element is creating a composition that will be judged as ‘good’ by my client whether they may be a small business owner or the creative director of an ad agency.

      That fact that I can do that consistently and that another capable pro photographer could come in and create a completely different set of images that also satisfy the same basic requirements seems to lead to the conclusion that there is, at the very least, a set of errors to avoid when composing a photograph.

      If I create a strong image but it has a couple of little unidentifiable blips or smudgy areas in an otherwise negative space, those outliers will catch the eye of a certain percentage of people (a much higher percentage if you’re talking about people with an arts background) and they will often feel compelled to point out that the image would be stronger without that little distraction from the core elements of the composition.

      Of course if I didn’t have to answer to anyone I’d be free to say I don’t mind but as I’m hoping for repeat business it makes sense to make my compositions distraction-free.

      Part of my interest in participating in this forum is to be able to show some more experimental efforts as it’s ok if some of them utterly fail here, won’t impact my ability to put food on the table.

      Cheers, Aaron

    • #132564
      tom dinning

      Ahhh! The dreaded business of business. Feeding the children is a necessity of life, just as is feeding the soul. Children and mortgagers seem to be a bit more persistent and certainly shout louder.n Is that why we have hobbies?
      My Old Man used to hide in the shed doing whatever. I never asked for fear of him telling me. Turned out he was doing the same thing he did at work – only different. He did it for himself. Curious thing that. He made all the furniture in our house when I was a kid. It was a hodge-podge of styles and designs that never quite fitted into the overall theme of the home. It was as though we lived in a Salvo’s second hand shop. Somehow we survived without being sold off. In fact, its quite memorable.
      Meanwhile, at work, he was producing precision stuff for the clients. When he retired he continued to make stuff for the family. I apparently carry his genes for incompletion of task. When he worked for the company he had plans to work from. When he worked for himself he often just started with an idea and worked until it turned out to be useful.
      Which product has the greatest value? You tell me. Some fed us; some gave us pleasure.

    • #132570
      Geoff Neville

      Well said @aarongeis . I’m glad you liked it @bugadrienne
      Drawing the eye, rule of thirds or centered composition.
      Three little ducks.
      A misspent youth #5.
      Although the third shot could be all three.

    • #132572
      tom dinning

      So, without going into the Shark TAnk, what would the viewers here consider the elements of composition in this shot? You tell me, ’cause I have no idea what I do.

      _D3S1231.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

    • #132573
      Geoff Neville

      Hole in the wall.
      A bit different again.

    • #132631
      Aaron Geis

      @ tomdinning

      I would list some compositional elements as being:

      1. Subject – in this case the guy because he’s front and center.

      2. Supporting elements – the woman, the handrails, steps, lines of the building, text on building, ect.

      3. Leading lines – the way a line or series of objects lead to another part of the image. In this case the central the handrail leads to (or from) the guys crotch and takes on a phallic quality, pointing towards the woman!

      4. Edge tension – where one line of the composition meets another or the edge of the frame. In this case there is a line of the building that connects with the side of the guys head, usually a no-no but in this case it could be argued that it contributes to the overall sense of tension that this image delivers (to me).

      5. Focus – the focus here is not quite on the back of the guy’s head, where I would expect it to be. The focus looks to be about a foot beyond of the little bit of step at the bottom for the frame, nothing there but some paving.

      6. The fact that the whole thing is tripped counterclockwise about 10 degrees adds tension to the image, not saying that’s unintentional but just pointing out the effect (on me).

      7. The light – in this image the light is diffuse so it’s role is a bit ambiguous. Light pretty much always has a role and if I were to try to create an image that communicates tension I’d probably go for some strongly directional light so in this instance I would say that the quality of the light is not adding to the overall effect.

      8. Color – the vibrant red of the guy’s shoes pulls my eye there, maybe no bad thing except that they are no more in focus than the back of his head is. The woman’s purple coat is vibrant but less so than the red so that works to make her the second place my eye travels to.

      So in many ways an interesting image but if I was doing a quick edit I’d personally have binned it as the focus didn’t work out (not trying to be offensive, just speaking plainly).

    • #132718
      tom dinning

      Not bad, @aarongeis. You seem to follow the expected list.
      One thing, though. What’s all that ‘I’ stuff? You need to loose a bit of your subjectivity and shrink your ego a bit hen answering questions. The question wasn’t about you. Irrelevant information about what you would have done with the photo doesn’t give you kudos.
      Now let’s forget the surface stuff and go a bit deeper where you can actually have your say.

      What does the picture say to you? What is it that you read into the situation? After all, that’s what a photo is about. It’s not a list of elements and ‘I would have’. It’s an edited bit of the world through the eyes of the the photographer.
      See if you can talk as much about that?

    • #132719
      Aaron Geis

      Hi @tomdinning , the ‘I’ stuff was an attempt to avoid invoking your ire by telling you what you ought to do but rather only saying what I might to if I were approaching the image.

      I just try to let my honest opinions flow, with a normal level of not trying to annoy people.

      Your question was specifically about the elements of composition so I limited my comments to that aspect.

      In any case I said that I thought the photo communicates tension and that the handrail emanating from the guy’s crotch and pointing towards the woman was significant.

      Does that not count as pretty heavy hinting regarding what I think the photo is saying?

      I keep getting a mental picture of Dr. Freud rubbing his hands together with glee.

      Any chance there’s a mother/son relationship going on there for an added Oedipal bonus feature?

      In all seriousness it’s made me wonder if instead of showing people Rorschach cards it might be an idea to send them out with a camera and having a chat about what they bring back.

      Honest to god I think that’s an idea that may be worth exploring.

      The lack of focus even give’s it an authentic ‘naive art’ aspect.

      I have a dreadful feeling that saying that will annoy you but I’m not trying to pick a fight, it’s just what I honestly think, and you did ask.

      I haven’t done a word count to see if I talked as much about the meaning as I did the composition but I have work tomorrow so got to get some sleep.

      I’ve been enjoying this conversation, thanks.

    • #132759
      tom dinning

      Here’s something to think about Aaron @aarongeis.
      Firstly, I’m not having a go at you, although I was hoping, and am getting, a conversation from you. That’s got to be a good thing.
      There are many ways to look at a photograph.
      One way is to simply look for information. Treat the photo as a document containing detail from which you can see what it is and what is going on. You may even make judgements based on what you glean from the image.
      Take this simple shot for example:

      _D3S3083.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      You can see the ocean (possibly), a pier (maybe), two people (man and woman), a pole with a light on it and some clouds.

      You may then make some assumptions:
      Its a bit stormy looking, the body language indicates some hostility (possibly), they are waiting for something.

      The next thing is to possibly make some judgements:
      They are indigenous. Indigenous people stand like that. What are they up to?

      You might progress into some symbolism:
      The stormy clouds reflect the relationship between the individuals. There is a life connection to the sea.

      Finally, the image may be a metaphor.
      This represents the relationship between indigenous people and themselves and to the sea.

      Another way of looking at a photo is to criticise it. I don’t mean pick faults with it or tell the photographer how it should have been done or how you would have done it. I mean, to ask the photographer what the intent was and to determine if the intent has been met. It may also be compared to other aspects of their work or in the light of new attempts at creativity.
      A good read on this matter is found in Criticising Photographs by Terry Barrett.
      The following photo was recorded with that in mind; to invoke a feeling in the viewer. If you’re a surfer of any sort, Aaron, you can possibly relate to this scene. You will have your own memories that might be triggered from seeing this. I would like to think so. Its a good feeling out there when the light fades and the last wave is imminent. If I have achieved that, I have succeeded, even a little bit.
      20110729_1225.jpg by tom dinning on Light Stalking

      Another way of looking at photos is to see them as a test of your own skills against the photographer.
      You may have some knowledge and skills of your own which you would like to bring to the table. I’m sure you’ve seen a few photos in your time and heard yourself say “I could have done that (better, differently, as well.)
      Although this isn’t what photographs are designed for, its unavoidable that people will do it. The forums seems to be a place for this sort of examination fester, in the hope of being of some help or showing off. Unfortunately, most of the stuff is unhelpful because there is no benchmark for either determining the qualifications of the person making the comment or the levels of comparisons we make.

      Photographs have many more functions as you know. They can persuade, amuse, give pleasure, arouse, report, even lie.

      I understand the need for people to improve their technical skills. That’s the easy bit. Learning to determine the outcome of a photo in the ways mentioned is a bit more difficult and often requires many years of understanding about who and what we are and who and what our audience is.

      Its possible to view a photo in all these ways at once. Whether we should place one on a higher priority than another is dubious.
      As you do with your photos, Aaron, let your head go into the world of imagination when you view as well as when you take.
      I don’t photograph like you nor you I. So why bother telling me. But I’m happy to listen to a bit of fantasy from your thoughts.

    • #132885
      Aaron Geis

      @tomdinning I’m no believer in paper qualifications as an arbiter of artistic authority but it can be useful to know if someone has been a lifelong student of their craft, has spent time working as a professional in the field and has experience as an educator.

      I’m describing you!

      As well as myself.

      So what’s up with saying you ‘have no idea what I do’ and posting an out of focus picture?

      A test?

      A trap?

      Moving swiftly on.

      The way that the people on the pier are both touching each other and also separated by the massive lamppost and seemingly not quite looking at each other but over each other’s shoulders suggests to me not hostility but resignation. Together but separate – and staying that way – an uncomfortable marriage.

      The sky, as you say, adds to the message.

      The way that they’re both standing one one leg, like birds do, communicates their closeness with the natural world.

      The surfer photo is more straightforward and does as you say.

      I’m only the most casual of surfers but I think this photo might convey the sense of being out there to someone who had never even seen the sea.

      Also loneliness and a sense of waiting in vain (no sign of a surfable break).

      Here’s one of mine if you’d like to offer a reading.

      Thanks for the book tip, I’ll look for it.



      Tanja by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #132907
      tom dinning

      You must have me mixed up with that other Tom Dinning, Aaron @aarongeis. He’s got bits of paper for everything. I think he prints them himself. Or gets them from the bottom of cornflakes boxes. He’s also an arrogant prick who finds great satisfaction in stirring people. Don’t believe anything he tells you. He makes it all up. He also has this annoying habit of disagreeing, seemingly for the sake of it, just when you come up with a good idea and think you might win him over. He’s also a Geordie, and you know what they’re like.

      I haven’t got my new prescription for my b glasses yet. Was it out of focus? Damn. I must admit, that photo really never got past the thumb nail stage. That way I am assured everything seems in focus.

      I’ve been reading your photo over breakfast. Muesli with strawberry and banana. Very tasty.

      If I wrote down everything that came to mind I’d be here for a week. I’ll try and be brief. Here it is, not in any logical order.

      A portrait, no less. Of a woman, I think, although I’m guessing. If it’s a bloke I have a whole new story. She’s not, b any means, what you’d call attractive, but pleasant enough. A bit introspective judging by the look on her face, although the photographer may have asked her to look that way. Never the less, the eye contact is tell me she wants me to feel for her, understand her predicament, her lack of confidence in a world where beauty is ranked night in the opinions of others. She’s not like that but might be a bit envious of those who are. She’s dressed in a place where females wear their body with pride, be conning for attention from the passers by. She doesn’t do that. People have to accept her as she is. She doesn’t look down on those who see glamour as a ticket to wear, but maybe just a little sad she’s not one of them.

      This is what I would call an INTERPRETIVE photo. One in which, if the viewer allows themselves the pleasure, tells us more that meets the eye.

      None of this is the truth, of cause. I don’t need to know what the real story is. There are no tests, as you suspected. Just photos to enjoy.

      I enjoyed this over breakfast.


    • #132910
      tom dinning

      Sorry about the typos Aaron. Spell check has its own version it appears and I can’t read it. I get my new glasses today.

    • #132923
      Aaron Geis

      Thanks, I find it hard to completely break free of the prosaic truth of what I witnessed or manufactured at the scene.

      And even if I were to become free from the memory, how could I ever be sure?

      So the photographer’s read of their own photograph can never be fully interpretive?

      Recall always getting in the way or at least tainting the waters?

      Just shooting from the hip.

      I’m forever twiddling with typos, can’t catch them all, never mind.

    • #132983
      tom dinning

      You don’t have to be free of the truth, whatever that is, or your memory. Someone more famous than me said there are two people in every photo; the photographer and the viewer. Like most the two infrequently meet to discuss their point of view or interpretation.
      As for your part, we may take it a step further and say you are interpreting the world around you and presenting it in a particular way.
      I’m quite content in saying my shots are ‘set up’ in one way or another. Refer to the list and tell me which ones I set up in any of my shots. Place, PoV, equipment, timing, settings, lighting, post processing and display all add to our interpretation of our own world and present it the way we want it to look.
      We don’t always get it exactly the way we want it, nut that not a stub bling block to creativity or getting the job done. I’m very happy to let a bit of blur enter the frame. So much so I often seek it out. Although I might have all the technical knowledge, skills and know how in the world ( which I don’t) my main aim is to place my interpretation on the picture. If the odd glitch doesn’t detract for that, I’m happy.
      Photography isn’t hard work. Seeking perfection is. I have an aversion to hard work, therefor I lower my standards and expectations in the areas I often stumble on. I’m past seeking improvement. That’s a tail I no longer chase. Now I just concentrate on the thought processes and the reflections. And having fun.

      When you get to my age, Aaron, you’ll,realize there’s not much left to strive in so it’s much more pleasant to walk slowly and enjoy.

    • #132984
      tom dinning

      Geez, I’ll be glad when I get my fucking glasses!

    • #133027
      Aaron Geis

      Morning Tom, (here anyway) @tomdinning,

      I don’t believe there is an achievable, or even theoretical, perfection.

      I’m not blowing smoke to tickle your ego if I say that your surfer photo communicates the sense of what it’s like to commune with the sea.

      I expect that you should be able to communicate in a language (visio-photographic) that you speak.

      And while I expect that many people would take the same message that I did from the photo there will be some people who say that an image of a surfer signifies something else for them.

      Perhaps they were eating strawberry ice cream when they watched Point Break last week and when they see your photo they can just about taste the ice cream.

      I believe that the odd glitch DOES distract from your (‘your’ in the sense of anyone’s) communication through imagery.

      Firstly, it can distract the eye from the core compositional elements that are communicating the idea.

      Secondly, it erodes the viewer’s confidence that you have a mastery of your medium.

      You (you specifically) feel compelled to apologize for typos in your written communication.

      I see those little glitches in photos (anyone’s, mine included) as the equivalent of grammatical errors or typos.

      If an author’s writing is riddled with typos and grammatical errors (not saying your’s is, but just generally) then the reader tends to lose confidence that the author know’s what their talking about.

      The author may be an expert in the subject but not a very good writer (not saying that you aren’t a good writer but just as a point of theory).

      That author remain’s an expert their field but they can’t be counted to convey that expertise without those communication skills.

      On the other point I wasn’t being defensive about manufacturing a scene, just saying that I know what I did and I can’t get away from that knowledge.

      That’s doesn’t matter much for photographs that are communicating a straightforward message but it can make it difficult for me to be sure if I’m getting across an allegorical concept.

      As for your list (not for you or me but for anyone else who may be interested) – you set up all of those things except lighting, which you selected by choosing to take the photo when, or because, the sky was looking a particular way.

      With a modicum of humility I’m not necessarily, or at least not only, trying to hone my craft to perfection – I’m hoping to actually be able to eventually add to the body of knowledge about my craft.

      And that is hard work.

      Thanks for chatting,


    • #133055
      tom dinning

      It’s bed time here. A good day was had by all.
      You have good and solid purpose in what you think and do, Aaron. It will take you far and well.
      I’ve trod my path and it’s been an interesting one. I occasionally try to pass on what I have learn to those who listen so they might consider where and when they step. My audience is now the masses. It’s not members of the photographic world. It’s just the ordinary bloke who knows fuck all about photography and just want to look at a picture and dream. It’s me I photograph for. Each photograph I take renders my life with just a bit more meaning. Sure, I can get it right. I just don’t want to any more. I have nothing to achieve from that. What I have, though is the capacity to find a little meaning in what I see and hold it still so I can dwell on it for a time.
      No more scrambling for excellence, striving to please, satisfying the customer, waiting for the praise. None of the fancy gear, the numbers and controls. It’s all passed me. For 60 years I have done this thing. Earns a living from it, taught people a bit, encouraged them a lot. Now it finally is about me.
      I hope everyone reaches this point. I hope everyone goes through what I have done to get here.
      The end result may not be to the liking of many. The end result might not show the technical excellence that is expected or warranted. But you know what, Aaron? I am in the best place I have ever been with taking pictures. I am taking what I consider the most meaningful pictures in my life.
      I can safely say I have discovered what photography means – to me.
      Happy journey. It’s worth the effort.

    • #133076
      Aaron Geis

      Hi Tom,

      Yes, of course, I have nothing to gain by convincing you (or lose by not convincing you) of anything.

      Just happy to have a chance to talk communication theory.

      Glad to hear you’re in a happy place.

      Whereabouts do you live?

      I spent 10 blissful weeks in Australia romancing my wife (to be) in a VW camper van traveling from Darwin, across the Cairns and down to Sydney.

      Many happy memories of that time.

      Cheers mate,


    • #133263
      Adrienne Siebert

      I took a minimalist approach to this shot. I find that the composition can make or break a minimalist photo.

      This fly was only cleaning its face, but I think it kind of looks like it threw it’s forelegs up in resignation. lol

      Don't shoot.

    • #133282
      Aaron Geis

      @bugadrienne Hi Adrienne,



      I think this is a visually arresting shot and that it wouldn’t be if the composition was more cluttered or it was just – bug in the center, here it is, no particular compositional effort.

      Nice one!

    • #133284
      Michael Lloyd

      I like that one Adrienne. Well seen and captured.

    • #133285
      Michael Lloyd

      Frame of Reference

    • #133286
      Adrienne Siebert

      Thanks @aarongeis. I was reading through the thread and it occurred to me that I had this one. 😀

      @michael-lloyd: Thank you.

      I like the simple silhouette, the exact place where the sun is in the frame, and the amount of space in the above photo.

    • #133300
      Aaron Geis


      Also very nice.

      Reminds me of Japanese screen prints that often use silhouettes against the sun in a graphical way.

      The addition of the trees on the left give the photo dimension as they are darker than the more distant building – that aspect also can be found in Japanese prints and is used in graphic design.

    • #133315
      Michael Lloyd

      Thank you. The image was sort of a happy accident. I made it with intent to capture what you see here but I didn’t know the alignment was going to be as it was. I was trying for an image of a very New Moon (19-1/2 hours old). The sun’s location in the horizon was the benchmark for where to look from to see the New Moon. There was about 6 degrees of separation so while the sun was up the odds of seeing the moon were pretty slim. It was just above and to the left of the sun somewhere. If I captured it I haven’t figured out where it is yet 🙂 It’ll be a little larger today so maybe I can capture it this evening.

      Great thread Adrienne.

    • #133796
      Aaron Geis

      I’m willing to concede the possibility that I over-think things, sometimes.

      I would bring in the clone stamp and remove some tiny elements I consider to be distracting.

      Am I wrong?

      WildStrawberry.jpg by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #133798
      John Thompson

      Aaron @aarongeis I do not think you are wrong. I also have a tendency to over think thinks. I think that is the main reason why many of my shots end up in the bit bucket. BUT, I need all the help I can get to make my crappy images look at least presentable.

      _DSC0053.jpg by John Thompson on Light Stalking

      This is one of my favorite pics that includes man made objects. Most of my pics are landscapes with only natural subjects. It is not that good of a pic but I like it. I would even frame it and hang it in my home but I would never think anyone else would. My photography is for me. It is almost like a friend that keeps me busy with challenges every day. I have started walking on my treadmill again because there are some places I want to photograph that require hiking.

    • #133803
      Aaron Geis


      I think that it’s a pretty good pic.

      It looks to me like you either dropped in the sky or selected it for layered processing, or possibly it’s just the effect of the processing you’ve done but the edge looks like it has an issue.

      It’s possible that it’s just because it’s so small on the screen.

      But in case it’s not, I’d run the blur tool over the edge between the earth and sky to see if you can get it looking more natural.

      Hard selected edges are tricky and I avoid them whenever possible.

      If you have PS you might want to check out some tutorials on using the ‘Refine Edge’ tool (forgive me if you already know about it).

      I love the idea that photography is encouraging you to get regular exercise, I’ve only spent a small amount of time in the SW of the US but there’s so much great stuff to see on foot there I hope you do keep that up.

    • #133808
      John Thompson

      I have looked at the area that you are talking about and I do not see anything untoward. The only thing I did to this pic is add some contrast in ACR and clean the bugs (what I call dust on sensor and lens) off of it.

    • #133813
      Aaron Geis

      Must just be the smallness and the settings on my monitor then.

      So perhaps for a print size version it would balance out better (for me).

      One thing I try to keep in mind when producing and/or post-processing an image is what size and format it will viewed in.

      So I would say, for me, with my screen set bright and contrasty, the line between the sky and the earth is pulling my eye so strongly that it seems ‘buzzy’ in a way that suggests it might have been edge selected for split processing.

      If I were to think about how to rework it, for on-screen viewing at 500px I’d be thinking of trying to rebalance the sky and foreground to bring more attention to the door frame.

      I’m not saying there’s anything technically wrong with how it is now, just that for me, I’d make it more about the building and less about the sky.

    • #133818
      Aaron Geis

      So here’s a version where I spotted out four little bits of white material that were actually present on the leaves.

      I probably could have brushed them off the leaves if I wanted.

      They’re just outside in my garden so I could do that tomorrow if I wanted.

      But in probably less than 30 seconds I spotted them out in Photoshop.

      I think the photo is better without them.

      But I can also entertain the idea that the reality is more complex.


      WildStrawberry_clean by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #133868
      Michael Lloyd

      I think too much is made of leaving an image “pure” in photography today. For whatever reason it seems like people think that when film was the sensor of choice the published photographer made pristine, dust free, perfectly exposed images. That’s simply not true. Images have been manipulated at some level for a very, very long time.

      R. Mac Holbert of Nash Editions was at a printing workshop, with John Paul Caponigro, that i attended a few years ago and he showed the class numerous examples of extremely well known images (the Afghan Girl, both versions, for instance) that were made ready for print by his company. He gave us before / after examples of pre-digital photo manipulation. Not exactly pre-digital since the image was drum scanned and then the file was edited. I don’t recall the exact number of times that Ansel Adams printed Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico before he had a version that he liked but it was more than 10. He was a genius in the darkroom and a pretty good photographer :o) Image editing is almost as old as the craft of photography.

      When I scan my 4×5 negatives and edit them in photoshop have I somehow “taken the virginity” of the pristine image that I created with my camera? Of course not. Image manipulation is an extension of the craft. With the 4×5 I have to be diligent with my exposure and composition, just like when I make a digital image. I have a little more dynamic range to play with when I use the 4×5 but if I blow the highlights the data for the blown out area is still empty no matter if I were to wet print the negative (I don’t) or if I scan it and print as a digital negative.

      The clean version of your image is more pleasing to my eye. Does that make it a better image? I think so.

    • #133905
      John Thompson

      Michael @michael-lloyd I must agree with your point about PP. I go to another website everyday and it is generally filled with old duffers like me. They beam at the fact that the image they are posting is right out out of the camera and most of them look like it. From what I have read every pro photographer does PP and some extensively.

    • #133943
      Aaron Geis

      @michael-lloyd & @nikon-nut

      Thanks for weighing in.

      I agree.

      I started in B&W and the darkroom was half of the process for me.

      Then I went through a long period of shooting mostly E-6 (slide film) where I would hand over the film to clients who would sometimes do some re-working but mostly not.

      When I started using Photoshop it was like a return to the darkroom, an extra opportunity to express myself creatively.

      The process of creating a photo, by whatever means, is an interpretation of the 3 dimensional reality that existed in a sliver of time.

      The photographer can place additional constraints on themselves if they wish and sometimes those constraints are external.

      Recently an AP photographer got in deep do-do for cloning out a colleague’s video camera that appeared in the corner of an otherwise successful image.

      He might have nudged his colleague and got him (or her) to pull the camera back a couple of inches.

      The reality would have been substantially the same, the videographer was also there, the resulting image would have been almost exactly the same as the cloned version but I still agree that the photographer was in the wrong because the AP has a set of operational rules that the photographer was bound to and the viewer expects to have been in place.

      If the photographer can clone out a video camera then where does it stop?

      On the other hand an untouched photograph can also tell a lie.

      Simply by cropping out an element or facing away from part of the story.

      There’s a famous example of a photograph of a small child, obviously malnourished, with a vulture sitting just behind the child.

      The story seems to be that the child was abandoned but in fact the photographer was at the edge of a camp and the child was only momentarily separated from it’s mother.

      I could tell the ‘true’ story of how a wild strawberry in my garden has some bits of pollen, or ash, or whatever on it’s leaves.

      Or I could blow those particles off before taking the photo.

      Or I could spot them off in Photoshop.

      As it’s not a news photo and I’m free to set my own parameters I spotted them in Photoshop.

      Thanks for chatting.

    • #134196
      Aaron Geis

      This shot of bluebells and birches breaks the rules of composition.

      Pass or fail?

      (on compositional grounds, other comments also welcome)

      Bluebells by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #134198
      Michael Lloyd

      Sometimes dead center horizons work when the comp is strong enough. The horizon (blue along the bottom of the tree line at the horizon) in this one looks artificial.

    • #134201
      Aaron Geis

      Going for drama, perhaps a bit heavy handed.

      Is this version any better?

      Bluebells Version 2 by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #134202
      Michael Lloyd

      Better but the slight curve in the “horizon”… maybe bend is a better word for it… still looks artificial. It looks artificial because it looks like the edge of the flowers was “added” to the scene. It could also be an artifact of boosting the saturation, clarity, ?? of the edge. Either way, I wish I had made this image :o)

      I should’ve added that the appearance of being artificial hasn’t got anything to do with your question.

      “Pass or Fail”

      I think it passes the composition as far as composition goes.

    • #134214
      Aaron Geis

      Firstly, thanks!

      I brought in a guide line and zoomed right in.

      The curve is there but it’s very slight, good eye.

      I think it is probably ‘real’, topographical, a bit of a hill (as opposed to the effect of the wide angle lens possibly pointing ever so slightly down).

      I did some reasonably heavy LR PP along the lines of tone curve boost, messing about with saturation, clarity ect and then brought into PS where I duplicated the layer and ‘multiplied’, then created a layer mask which I used a brush on to lighten and darken areas, mostly avoiding the edge itself as I didn’t want to lighten the bases of the tree trunks..

      No edge selection, no adding or removing of anything.

      Not that I wouldn’t, just that I didn’t in this case.

      On composition I also consider it to be possibly very unbalanced by the large bright tree trunk on the right.

      But maybe the bright area in the upper left of the sky helps.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      Going off topic a bit here’s a version that is straight out of camera expect for the slight rotation/crop to level the horizon (handheld shot).

      Bluebells SOOC by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #134230
      Michael Lloyd

      When you saw this image, before you made it. did it catch your eye immediately (bet it did) or grow on you. To me this scene screams “shoot me!” in the photographic sense.

      Also off topic – Have you used the radial gradient tool in LR5 yet? Since there is a nice long “path” along the edge of the trees you could pull an oval along that line, invert the mask, and do some lightening to create a lit pathway. Then another wider, shorter oval to lighten the extreme foreground.

      I’m not suggesting that it’s THE way to edit this. More like a “hey have you used this tool” thing. If you haven’t played with the radial gradient, I’m betting you have, it’s a worthwhile tool for some landscapes. It’s very subtle and the default falloff amount is pretty nice.

    • #134234
      Aaron Geis

      The problem in those woods (it’s a good problem to have) is there are so many scenes that are screaming ‘shoot me’ that it’s hard to settle down and really work with one particular composition.

      I didn’t on that occasion, partly because I wasn’t alone with hours to myself.

      And in some ways it’s tricky to select just the right part that conveys the sense of the bluebells being a perfect carpet in all directions.

      I thought this scene did that but was maybe lacking something on the left to create balance, possibly it’s just more complex that way.

      Jury’s out for me on that at the moment.

      I’m familiar with the radial gradient but I tend to go for a brush to wiggle around based on the tones in the scene.

      I’ll give it a quick try as you’ve mentioned it though.

    • #134262
      Michael Lloyd

      There is a lot to love about the image.

      Continuing on with the thread. Something from yesterday evening:

      I feel like I should pull the left side in so the upturned iron disappears into the left side.

    • #134264
      Michael Lloyd

      Something from the west side of my pasture this evening. I put a color version in the landscape forum. I think I like it better.

      “End of the Day”

    • #134704

      Here’s one to chew on from a compositional and processing point of view:

      6:45 by caimi on Light Stalking

      I take more pictures of this scene in all seasons than any other subject. It obsesses me because I see it every morning and again every evening, 365 days a year and in all kinds of light and weather. It is my favorite “model” and I am never as satisfied in the ways I have rendered it in photography as I am with just standing in the barn looking it over.
      CLICK for larger

    • #134712

      @michael-lloyd: Nice bokeh on the bird shot. I like the curve of the left iron. It’s the right iron that bothers me.

    • #134737
      Aaron Geis

      @micheal-lloyd Thanks!

      All of the above are nice.

      Whenever I see a large area of open sky on one side of a composition I think of times I’ve been asked to leave space for type to be added.

      On the bird shot, very bright areas pull the eye strongly, it might have been an idea to try to frame the bird inside of one of the bright patches to make it more about the bird.

      I’d also avoid having a very bright patch connect with the edge of the frame.

      I feel like that ‘drains’ the composition as opposed to ‘containing it’.

      @caimi I’d be interested to see a version where something dramatic is happening in the sky.

    • #134741

      @aarongeis: like a fighter plane or a superhero? Nothing dramatic ever happens in this particular sky. That’s part of the reason I like it. This is one of those things that is personal but universal at the same time. It is that little piece of the universe that you can say you own and be part right. More importantly, you can revel in being there. Something dramatic may be more interesting in a traditional sense of what attracts people to photos. But the sky here is only part of the story. If you really want drama there’s a huge elm tree that has survived all sorts of weather as well as pigs and horses. There’s a bowed oak fence that keeps things out and keeps things in every day. There’s a path that horses have studiously mapped out through a metal gate to get to wherever it is they need to go. There’s enough drama to last several lifetimes. There’s not enough drama to last a minute.

      Maybe you want thunderclouds. A full moon. A shooting star. I’ve seen all of those things in that sky too. But in this particular scene, there’s just the mundane passage of time and you and me in it.

    • #134743
      Aaron Geis

      I was thinking storm clouds, possibly some passing geese.

    • #134747
      Michael Lloyd

      “Whenever I see a large area of open sky on one side of a composition I think of times I’ve been asked to leave space for type to be added.”

      A friend of mine (Bernard Mendoza) was apparently fairly successful as a commercial photographer in the UK back in the day. One of his most common comments when he critiques an image is exactly what I quoted from you above :o)

      “I’d also avoid having a very bright patch connect with the edge of the frame.”

      I didn’t catch that. Thanks! House Finches don’t sit still long so framing wasn’t an option but I definitely could have alleviated the highlight.

    • #134748
      Aaron Geis


      You’re absolutely right and maybe in a large print that would come across.

      I have a pet theory, that observations over several years of leading critique sessions with photography students has tended to support, that it’s difficult to separate our own memory of having witnessed a scene first hand from the possible impact, or lack thereof, a photograph will have on others.

      In this discussion of composition I believe there is merit to being politely honest about our reactions to the photographs posted so that we can learn from each other about what does and doesn’t work.

      The fact that the photographs here are displayed at a small size presents a difficulty but also has a way of amplifying the importance of composition and color to create compelling images.

      So, without meaning to be rude or annoying, I’m sticking my neck out and saying that the composition of your photograph, for me as one observer, feels incomplete in a way that keeps it from being a compelling photograph, when presented at a small size.

      It may well be a very compelling restful photograph when printed at a larger size.

      It is very obviously compelling to you and that’s enough to suggest that it might be worthy of printing and hanging on your wall.

      If that’s so then it’s a complete success.

    • #134751

      @aarongeis: Thanks for the comments. You don’t have to tiptoe around it. I realize this image doesn’t contain all the bells and whistles (and fireworks) that will get it the cover of NatGeo. It is part of a project that I am working on to capture, or document, a generally, deliberately unimportant part of life in different light and times. As a whole it may end up not having any more general interest than this one image has but the hope is that it will. It is important enough to me, anyway, to keep doing it.
      I understand your theory of impact. That is one reason why I chose this particular scene to explore. It doesn’t seem to have any particular meaning or impact on others. It seems plain, dull. But the hope, the goal, is for the viewer to see this general scene enough times and in a variety of ways to create a feeling that may not be there in any individual image. You’ve seen Monet’s haystacks? Apart from the technical ability and the artistry and the inspiration required to create each individual painting, they are each a picture of haystacks. But viewed as a group, they are magnificent. That’s what I’m trying to achieve. If not magnificence, then at least a common feeling about life and the passage of time.

    • #134766
      Aaron Geis

      That sounds like a great goal and a fantastic learning exercise.

      I’m sure a gallery full of photos of the same scene over time would have tremendous impact.

      One of the things I’m really interested in is how art is so personal and subjective but there is still broad consensus about so many images being ‘good’.

      I don’t mean just famous works that all know but also the thousands of professionally produced photographs that appear in magazines and billboards every where.

      Most of them would never be hung on anyone’s wall as art but if they were placed in front of 10 photography instructors, chosen at random, they would all be able to identify the photographs as being of professional quality.

      I don’t believe it would be possible to create a list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ that would define what it takes to make a professional photograph but we all know one when we see one.

      What’s up with that?

      My history as an instructor in a professional photography degree program leads me to try to impart what I know about creating photographs that appear to be ‘professional’ but of course that is not the only standard that photographs can be judged by.

      Perhaps you’re familiar with the work of Nan Goldin?

      Her work isn’t ‘professional’ looking and if I was to see one of her photos in isolation I would probably say ‘do this, or that to make it better’ but taken as a body of work her photos are extremely powerful.

      So I look forward to seeing more of your shots of that scene.

    • #134768
      The Falx

      There are two types of photographers………..the mathematician and the dreamer…..mathematicians dream and dreamers count……im a dreamer.

      I learnt the rules…and rightly so….now I do what I want to do….I please myself and if someone else takes a little pleasure on the way then yes I get some satisfaction…..all I want is for a second glance or a smile while perusing my pisspoor efforts!

    • #134994
      Geoff Neville

      (I learnt the rules…and rightly so….now I do what I want to do….I please myself and if someone else takes a little pleasure on the way then yes I get some satisfaction…..all I want is for a second glance or a smile while perusing my efforts!)
      @falx you took almost all the words right out of my mouth.

    • #135018

      I was not familiar with Nan Goldin’s portraits but now, having spent a little while looking at them, it seems to me they are powerful in content more than structure. She photographs the people on the fringes of society who may have the same attraction that carnival freaks had in an earlier age. But there is a humanity in her pictures. And then she seems to use a studied lack of structure and rules to capture them. Interesting photos.

      As for professional photos you are correct that we tend to recognize them when we see them. Take a look at the photos in the most recent Lightstalking article, “10 Tips For shooting the Natural World” They look “professional” . In fact, they look ‘PROFESSIONAL”. They looked polished to a fare-thee-well. They are so perfect they make your eyes bleed to look at them. It’s not what I aspire to but I appreciate that they would all make a splendid Hallmark card.

      So I guess I prefer a more unprofessional look. Something that is a pleasing composition of life with the emphasis on life with all of its imperfections. I like some of the structure of the “rules” of composition but used subtly. I think I see Nan Goldin doing just that in her portraits.

    • #135022
      Michael Lloyd

      Check out Regina Pagles work for professional photographs by a self-professed non-professional photographer

      I think she is wrong. I think she is a professional portrait photographer that doesn’t charge for her work…

    • #135023
      Aaron Geis

      @caimi Thanks for taking some time to check out Nan Goldin, glad to hear your thoughts.

      @michael-lloyd Thanks for pointing out Regina Pagles, I think anyone looking at her work would say it looks professional for sure.

    • #135026
      Michael Lloyd

      One other thing- I am not a portrait photographer. I have done portraits. I don’t enjoy doing portraits and that puts off my victims :o) so they aren’t comfortable and when the victim isn’t comfortable the image suffers.

      But, I study really good portrait photographers work. Joe McNally, Lindsay Adler, Gregory Heisler, Frank Doorhof, and Peter Hurley come to mind for current professional portrait photographers. I’m drawing a blank for the greats of the past. The most common denominator in photography is lighting. Specifically good lighting…

    • #135034
      Aaron Geis


      Thanks for sharing that list of portrait photographers.

      My fav’s of the past include Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Edward Weston.

      Weston’s portrait of Manuel Hernández Galván is one of my all time favorites.

      Other current portrait specialists that I like include Martin Schoeller, Platon, and Jason Bell

    • #135047
      John Thompson

      Guys if you would like to see some truly intriguing portraits check out Russ Elkins at He does some great black and white work. He also has another website that he gives PS tutorials on It is time well spent.

    • #135053
      The Falx

      I do take notice of photographers…..I also take notice of artists,politicians,nurses,dustmen,third world poverty………………I take notice of life and reflect……well or badly…………in my photography……..tis a living thing not following a track already trod……..follow your own

    • #135057
      Michael Lloyd

      Follow your own? Photography has been around longer than anyone on this forum has lived by a large margin. It’s virtually impossible to trip the shutter and not in some way be following in someones footsteps. There are no “tracks” or paths, just a wide swath. Originality is an illusion. It’s all been done before, at the base level, and nothing you or I will do is “new”to photography, only to ourselves.

      The best we can hope for is to have an innate artistic vision and a modicum of technical skill to capture a few photons on a sensor in a way that is pleasing to ourselves and others. People can say that they don’t need the approval of others but if they make a statement like that in the company of others (including on a web forum) then they are being disingenuous.

      Back on topic, here’s my barn from a little earlier this evening… I see a twig I would clone out. I cropped it to get rid of the “ass end” of a couple of horses and applied some sharpening since it was shot in RAW format. This is what you get when the light is right. Seek out the light and it will reward you (sounds kind of Bruce Lee-ish doesn’t it. “Be water my friend”) :o)

    • #135090
      The Falx

      Sorry Mike………………………be your own……………………no lets surrender to whats before………………………….do your own………..go yer own way…………..maybe you should be influenced but not taken over……you cant win,not because your right or wrong…….cus im a free spirit

    • #135115
      Aaron Geis

      I once dated a beautiful woman who was quite a good singer.

      She liked to go to a karaoke club to practice and get feedback from her friends.

      I liked spending time with her and I enjoyed her friends but I eventually had to say that I couldn’t bear to sit through another maudlin version of ‘I did it my way’.

    • #135116
      Aaron Geis


      I like the edge tension created by the roofline almost but not quite meeting the edge of frame at the left and then the flow being brought to conclusion by the fence post at the far right.

      I concur with the impulse to lose the twig.

      Oh, and I forgot to mention Dan Winters.

    • #135150
      tom dinning

      Poor @michael-lloyd
      Lets hope he can’t sing. He’d be way off key, as usual, although his poetry gives a sense of the virtual.
      Back at the turn of the 19th century (yes, before my time, but still close enough to identify with it), a very smart man once said “Nothing is new. From this point on,[science] discoveries will simply be variations on what we already know.
      Boy, did he get it wrong.
      Nevertheless, he was smart enough to cover his tracks. He did discover a few pathways that people followed and discovered new things; unimaginable, mysterious, bewildering and even useful stuff.
      We look back on Kelvin’s science and wonder how such a great man could think that way.
      Sometimes, even the great get it wrong.
      When Talbot published his book ‘The Pencil of Nature’ he had a bit more of an open mind. He had no idea what his invention would bring and he was willing to allow others to choose their own path. Good thing we did that. Look where we are now.
      And now imagine all those photographers out there finding new stuff in an ‘old’ technology. Well, not so old. I’m still using a hammer to hit a nail and a pencil to write with.
      Its seemingly evident that we do seek approval through sharing. This is an important ingredient for some. But not all. Aesthetics is only one type of photography. Many in other fields take pictures primarily for different reasons. ‘Liking’ or approving of a photograph may be of little or no consequence when the descriptive or explanatory function is of more importance.
      Photographs as such, don’t have much significance. It is their intention that matters. Some may take pictures for their own pleasure. Others may do it to seek the pleasure of others. Then again, pleasure and approval may be the last thing on their mind.
      Keep your ‘broad swath’ clear of clutter, Michael. In among the mess you may find something that will amaze you. And others, if you want.

    • #135157
      Michael Lloyd

      “Lets hope he can’t sing. He’d be way off key, as usual.”

      True… If I could sing then I wouldn’t be off key unless I wanted to be.


      Are you a fan of Lewis Caroll?

      “‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

      “Beware the Jabberwock, my son
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
      Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

      He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
      So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
      And stood awhile in thought.

      And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
      Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

      One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
      He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

      “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
      O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

      ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.”

    • #135203
      Geoff Neville

      Couldn’t have said it better myself!!
      The dove.
      Found this “jabberwock” enjoying the sun.

    • #135209
      Aaron Geis

      I’ve only been participating in this forum for a short while but it seems to me that the issues of what type of information people might find useful and what type feedback people are interested in hearing are regularly being debated to little effect.

      I believe it would be expedient to agree that there will never complete consensus on those topics and look for a solution that allows us all to move beyond those concerns.

      One solution might be to include a parenthetical disclaimer detailing the scope of information and feedback that each of us is interested in engaging in at the end of each post.

      Another, much simpler, solution might be respond to information or feedback that doesn’t interest us by saying A. Nothing B. Thank You ; and then moving on the engage with the information and/or feedback that does interest us.

      I realise that the sparring may be half, or more, of the fun for some but I worry that the less robust participants may find it intimidating and it could have the effect of removing their voices from the dialog.

    • #135211
      Geoff Neville

      @aarongeis You have a point up to a point. But as I have eluded to on numerous occasions on different topics, it just doesn’t interest me (the little petty squabbles or should I say differences of opinion) some may have. I enjoy my photography and enjoy sharing it with like minded people such as yourself. So normally I would not even comment on it but if it deters others from sharing I suppose you have a point, an awful lot of points to point out!
      Anyway I went for a drive today and found an old church, it is only built about 1900 so not real old by some standards but nice enough. To fit in with the composition discussion I took a few at different angles and composition. I think this one is very basic, non arty, just showing the building as it is.
      Ma ma creeki church #3.
      It has had a few repairs over the years so hopefully it will last a few more.

    • #135327
      Aaron Geis


      Nice church.

      You’re one of the robust ones so I don’t worry about you.

      It’s the tender young’uns that I’m concerned will be thinking ‘I’m not going to say what I think, I’d get ripped to shreds by these guys’.

      Which would be a shame because I think one of the best ways to learn is to put forward what we’re thinking and have it challenged, gently.

      Here’s a shot of a famous gothic cathedral in Wells, England.

      Wells_Cathedral.jpg by Aaron Geis on Light Stalking

    • #135329
      Geoff Neville

      @aarongeis Yes I know what you mean, I’m not sure how you go about assuring a young’un it isn’t the end of the world but if they are intimidated they won’t persist so there learning is stifled. It’s a vicious circle.
      Now that’s a church!!

    • #135331

      Nice churches @aarongeis and @silverbells. Any building this size results in a distortion of more or less dimension dependingon the focal length of your lens. I know this isn’t the shark tank but did you consider correcting the distortion in post and if not, why not?
      I like the inclusion of the human in Aaron’s image which really drives home the size and grandeur of the church.

    • #135336
      Geoff Neville

      @caimi Not on the last shot, I wouldn’t be too worried because of the size. Being a reasonably small building it doesn’t effect it enough to be of a concern.
      Now this one on the other hand if I could be bothered yes I would correct distortion and probably a few other minor issues as well. Now don’t get me wrong I firmly believe if something is worth doing it is worth doing properly and well. But (there is quite often a “but” isn’t there) how well and how proper depends on the time you want to spend on “one” shot and what you intend to do with it. I hope I am making sense. And no this isn’t the shark tank but I don’t mind a curiosity type question. Especially with a very valid point!
      St. Pats church #2.

    • #135343
      Aaron Geis


      Mine is from several months ago. If memory serves I did do as much correction as I could without cropping the top of the cathedral.

      When attempting perspective control in PS you have to leave quite a bit of room in the composition to allow for the way the building will stretch upwards.

      I didn’t leave enough for complete correction in this case as it was actually just a quickie grab shot of my son scootering that I decided to tinker with because the sky was good.

      Looking at it again the PP is pretty sloppy in a number of ways.

      I welcome that type of question as well.

    • #135348

      I’ve done the same thing. I know I need to make a correction in post but I compose in camera and forget resulting in too little space to make the correction. On the other hand, there might be something about how we experience photos that the distortion in tall buildings is almost expected .

    • #135356
      Michael Lloyd

      Wow. When you photograph magnificent buildings (including the little one) do you ever step back and marvel at the craftsmanship? I’m betting that you do. We have the “Painted Churches” here in Texas. There is (was?) even a group of guys that made a project of photographing the painted churches with 4×5 film camera (and larger). I’m fortunate to live close to quite a few of them. High Hill is maybe 10 miles away as the crow flies. I don’t think I have any images of the exterior.

      The architecture of the churches that are posted here can be seen in the churches “over here” in Texas and I’m sure it’s seen in most of the other states. Maybe not Alaska :o) but who knows. They didn’t have the modern tools that we have now. It’s pretty amazing to see what they could build with what they had.

      In lieu of a church, how about a gazebo? This is from “Pickin Park” in Fayettville, TX this weekend. The chamber music festival was also occurring at an old hotel on the corner of the square. The bluegrass musicians were playing and singing on the square. There were little groups scattered around and the musicians wandered from group to group. I had hoped that some of the classical musicians would come join the bluegrass musicians while I was there. I was told that they wanted to but their concert times didn’t allow for it and there was some concern that the humidity would be harmful to their instruments. idk..

    • #148710
      Bob Evans

      I enjoy symmetry that’s created through the composition of asymmetric subjects. And this image also base some interesting lines that direct your eye.

      <br>Football Sunday by Bob Evans on Light Stalking

    • #149559

      This is a school corridor ?

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